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Individual study: Pine marten translocations: the road to recovery and beyond. In Practice issue 95: Rewilding and species reintroductions

Published source details

MacPherson J.L. (2017) Pine marten translocations: the road to recovery and beyond. In Practice issue 95: Rewilding and species reintroductions. In Practice: Bulletin of the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management, 95, 32-36


This study is summarised as evidence for the intervention(s) shown on the right. The icon shows which synopsis it is relevant to.

Provide supplementary food during/after release of translocated mammals Terrestrial Mammal Conservation

A study in 2015–2016 in a wooded mountain region in central Wales, UK (MacPherson 2017) found that some translocated pine martens Martes martes held in pre-release pens and then provided with supplementary food and nest boxes survived and bred in the first year after release. At least four out of 10 females that had been kept in pre-release pens survived and bred the year after release. Around 10–12 months after release, 14 out of 20 martens were alive and in good condition. Twelve were within 10 km of their release site. Six martens died in the first year, two had a fungal infection two weeks after release. Authors suggest this may have been due to damp conditions in November. From September–November 2015, twenty breeding age (>3-years-old) pine martens were caught in Scotland, health checked, microchipped and fitted with a radio-collar, and in some cases a GPS logger. Martens were transported overnight to Wales, and held in individual pre-release pens (3.6 × 2.3 × 2 m) for up to seven nights. Males’ pens were within 500 m of a female, but >2 km from the nearest male. Releases took place in autumn, and supplementary food was provided for 2–6 weeks after release (for as long as it continued to be taken). Den boxes were provided within 50 m of each release pen. Martens were radio-tracked until home-ranges were established, then located daily–weekly. Intensive tracking of females was carried out in March to locate breeding sites. Hair tubes and camera traps were used to monitor breeding success. A further 19 martens were released using the same procedure in September–October 2016.

(Summarised by Andrew Bladon)

Release translocated/captive-bred mammals into area with artificial refuges/breeding sites Terrestrial Mammal Conservation

A study in 2015–2016 in a wooded mountain region in central Wales, UK (MacPherson 2017) found that some translocated pine martens Martes martes held in pre-release pens and then provided with supplementary food and nest boxes survived and bred in the first year after release. At least four out of 10 females that had been kept in pre-release pens survived and bred the year after release. Around 10–12 months after release, 14 out of 20 martens were alive and in good condition. Twelve were within 10 km of their release site. Six martens died in the first year, two had a fungal infection two weeks after release. Authors suggest this may have been due to damp conditions in November. From September–November 2015, twenty breeding age (>3-years-old) pine martens were caught in Scotland, health checked, microchipped and fitted with a radio-collar, and in some cases a GPS logger. Martens were transported overnight to Wales, and held in individual pre-release pens (3.6 × 2.3 × 2 m) for up to seven nights. Males’ pens were within 500 m of a female, but >2 km from the nearest male. Releases took place in autumn, and supplementary food was provided for 2–6 weeks after release (for as long as it continued to be taken). Den boxes were provided within 50 m of each release pen. Martens were radio-tracked until home-ranges were established, then located daily–weekly. Intensive tracking of females was carried out in March to locate breeding sites. Hair tubes and camera traps were used to monitor breeding success. A further 19 martens were released using the same procedure in September–October 2016.

(Summarised by Andrew Bladon)

Use holding pens at release site prior to release of translocated mammals Terrestrial Mammal Conservation

A study in 2015–2016 in a wooded mountain region in central Wales, UK (MacPherson 2017) found that some translocated pine martens Martes martes held in pre-release pens and then provided with supplementary food and nest boxes survived and bred in the first year after release. At least four out of 10 females that had been kept in pre-release pens survived and bred the year after release. Around 10–12 months after release, 14 out of 20 martens were alive and in good condition. Twelve were within 10 km of their release site. Six martens died in the first year, two had a fungal infection two weeks after release. Authors suggest this may have been due to damp conditions in November. From September–November 2015, twenty breeding age (>3-years-old) pine martens were caught in Scotland, health checked, microchipped and fitted with a radio-collar, and in some cases a GPS logger. Martens were transported overnight to Wales, and held in individual pre-release pens (3.6 × 2.3 × 2 m) for up to seven nights. Males’ pens were within 500 m of a female, but >2 km from the nearest male. Releases took place in autumn, and supplementary food was provided for 2–6 weeks after release (for as long as it continued to be taken). Den boxes were provided within 50 m of each release pen. Martens were radio-tracked until home-ranges were established, then located daily–weekly. Intensive tracking of females was carried out in March to locate breeding sites. Hair tubes and camera traps were used to monitor breeding success. A further 19 martens were released using the same procedure in September–October 2016.

(Summarised by Andrew Bladon)